Surviving and Thriving During a Kitchen Renovation

Deciding to undertake a home renovation is an exciting moment.  Finally—after dreaming, saving, planning, and finding the right remodeler and the right time—the work can begin! But it’s important to carefully consider the realities of a project before the first hammer leaves the toolbox. All construction work results in some amount of disruption to the usual rhythms of daily life, and one of the most involved renovations (that benefits the most from some forethought) is a kitchen remodel.

We sat down with two different clients whose own extensive Schrader and Company kitchen renovations meant that their usual cooking workspace needed to be relocated and rethought for the duration of their project. 

Their inventive solutions and creative workarounds will benefit anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation. Their experiences prove that with a little flexibility, the right equipment, and a positive outlook, the construction phase needn’t be a painful one.

Without further ado, here’s a list of some of our clients’ best tips for surviving and thriving during a kitchen remodel:

 

Tip One: Creating a Mock Kitchen 

  • Set up a cohesive space in a different part of your home (dining room, living room, basement, garage) that works as a small galley with a miniature version of a typical kitchen. 
  • Consider a good location—if possible, near a utility sink, bathroom sink or tub.
  •  It’s also helpful not to have to move your temp kitchen around. Consider where it can stay for the duration of the project.
  • Think about stations for typical kitchen use, like a surface area for food prep, an area for food storage, an area for washing dishes, and a place to deal with food scraps and trash.
  • One client used a jelly cupboard to keep dishes, glasses, and some mixing and serving bowls handy.
  • Make a space for tea and coffee prep if that’s part of your daily routine. 
  • Big plastic tubs work well for pantry/food storage and keep pets and pests out. 

 

Tip Two: Creative Cooking Workarounds

  • Our clients all agree that grilling (if the weather works) is a great tip. They also recommend an outdoor camp stove, a countertop toaster oven, a crock pot or instant pot, and a panini press or griddle. 
  • Often the existing refrigerator and existing microwave can be set up for use during the project.

 

Tip Three: Don’t Forget About Clean-Up

  • You’ll need a spot to put your trash and recycling, a spot to scrape dishes (trash, toilet, or helpful dogs are all good options when you’re washing dishes in a space without a disposal). 
  • Consider purchasing a cheap plastic utility sink for a shower. One client put a water-resistant folding table next to their utility sink for a dish drying rack, and installed a hand sprayer in the shower to help with washing dishes. 
  • Buy a strainer for the drain where you are washing dishes for small food scraps so you don’t clog your drain. 

 

Tip Four: Budget for Reality

  • It’s a good idea to keep a little discretionary food fund for the duration of the renovation. Realistically, you might opt for more takeout or dining out while your dream kitchen is being created, and even time savers like pre-chopped produce cost a little extra. It’s all about balance.

 

Tip Five: Keep Perspective

  • Good things take time. We’ll just quote one client directly who had this to say about her extensive kitchen renovation process:

“The two most important things to me for this time have been a sense of humor and a sense of perspective and gratitude. Yes, it can be frustrating. Things take longer. Messes are plentiful, and harder to clean up. But my little galley is nicer than many apartment kitchens, and nobody is going to cue the violins for me because I don’t have a dishwasher while I’m waiting for my Schrader kitchen. We are lucky to be doing this, and are living like this temporarily, for an excellent reason. We are grateful to be able to go through this process and look forward to the end product, and that gratitude allows me to keep the temporary inconvenience in perspective.”

 

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

They say good things come to those who wait. When it comes to big home projects, sometimes patience is an excellent virtue.

In this Project Spotlight, we’ll take you behind the scenes of a major kitchen renovation that the homeowners undertook at just the right time for them, and in doing so, achieved the exact result they were hoping for, with no compromises.

We all wish we could snap our fingers and make improvements to our homes whenever the mood strikes, but in reality, home renovations require careful thought, budgeting, and flexibility. 

These clients knew their kitchen needed a major overhaul for several years before they committed to a remodeling project. But rather than do things piecemeal or have to make budgetary concessions, they elected to wait, save funds for their project for a longer period of time, and begin work at a time when an interior renovation would be less disruptive to their lifestyle.

These clients had done a mudroom and laundry renovation project with us years before. The kitchen renovation was next on their list, to completely overhaul the core areas of their first floor living space. 

While the kitchen layout stayed roughly the same, the wall between the family room and kitchen was widened greatly, to create the open cooking/gathering area that so many homeowners desire. Now when family meals are being prepared or guests come over, there’s no sense of being isolated from one another in separate spaces. 

In addition to new cabinets and countertops, upgraded lighting and refinished floors, new appliances and a spacious kitchen island were added. They also chose a new stainless steel Kohler Prolific sink with built in compartments for cooking accessories and drying racks for maximum efficiency. Now the clients can cook and entertain with ease. 

The homeowners were able to undertake this project when it worked best for their own timeline, and the renovation took place over the winter, when interior projects are often scheduled.

For the clients, their patience in waiting to renovate their kitchen has paid off. Rather than having to make sacrifices in budget or timing in order to have it done fast, they were able to achieve their dream result by doing their major renovation just once, at just the right time for them.

They are loving the new connected feel of their kitchen, and being able to make everyday memories together in their home.

 

 

How We Keep Our Saw Sharp

Investing in our Team Tools

In the construction and remodeling field, we know how important it is to keep our tools in pristine condition. As business owners, we apply the same philosophy to the running of our company. One of the things we do to keep Schrader and Company operating at the level of excellence we always aspire to is to regularly check in with the best professional advisors.

Once a year, we meet with our attorney, accountant, insurance/financial advisor, marketing expert, succession advisor, and a fellow local business owner/advisor to dig into the topics that will make us better. We create an agenda that allows us to ask these experts our questions about the latest changes in each of their fields, brainstorm new ideas, take on constructive criticism and feedback, and set new objectives for our company.

This regular check-in ensures that we are always up to date on the ever-evolving changes to the systems that impact our industry. Our annual advisor meeting keeps us accountable to our overarching mission and business goals, and provides dedicated time from the busy pace of daily operations to think about our future and legacy.

We benefit so much from the wisdom of these trusted experts, and we pass those benefits right down the line to our clients through a more polished, seamless, and professional experience with Schrader and Company.

This is just one of the ways we “keep our saw sharp.”

 

Supporting the Future of Our Industry

level surface

Schrader and Company knows that our current success and the future of our entire industry depends upon the talents of those in the skilled trades. Without a pool of highly-trained, motivated, and career minded construction professionals, plumbers, HVAC specialists, and manufacturers, homes cannot be built or remodeled.

There have been many reports in recent years on the decline of interest in skilled trade professions, with industry leaders sounding the alarm that we all need to do more to inform and support young people who are interested in a rewarding career in the trades.

To that, Schrader and Company supports multiple local scholarships for high school graduates to encourage them in their pursuit of their skilled trades career goals.

Schrader and Company was part of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Rotary Committee to establish and create criteria for the “BHBL Rotary Skilled Workforce Scholarship”. The 2019 winner, Justin Stiles, is now working for a local HVAC company, and is continuing his education and training. The 2020 recipient was Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake graduate Brendan Flynn.

The Peter H. Schrader Construction Industry Scholarship, awarded annually, is given to a Scotia-Glenville high school graduate who has expressed interest in a career in the skilled trades and has demonstrated the strong work ethic prized by our company founder. 

 We also have a new field team member for the summer, Nicco Tebbano, who recently graduated from Shenendehowa High School and plans to go to HVCC for Construction Technology in the fall.  We are enjoying working with Nicco, and helping him build his on-site skill set. Nicco was recently interviewed by CBS Channel 6 News about the work experience he is gaining this summer with Schrader and Company.

We want to do whatever we can to attract and support new talent in our industry. We believe there is both a great need and opportunity for young people to enter into the trades for a very rewarding career.

It’s All in the Timing…

The team at Schrader and Company is here to assist our clients with a wide array of home renovation and construction  needs—ranging from extensive remodels, additions and custom homes, to interior modifications or custom cabinetry. No matter what kind of improvement you have in mind for your home, our goal is to help you realize your vision.

To that end, one of the most important things we can do for all of our clients and potential clients is provide you with a clear sense of our process, so you know what to expect the first time you give us a call or visit our showroom.

A primary consideration when undertaking a home improvement project is timing. You have a busy life to lead, and planning out the most convenient time for a project is a crucial first step.

If you reach out to Schrader and Company for a smaller home improvement project, such as a small bathroom, door or window replacement or other minor modifications, any time is the ideal time to call. Depending on our schedule, we generally experience shorter lead times to get these kinds of projects underway.

Our more extensive renovation and construction projects, which involve collaboration with architects, the creation of a design/build agreement, and many design and selection decisions, generally can take several months to plan. Those months are put to efficient and critical use, as we formulate an intricate and finely-honed plan. We do this so that once work commences on your project, it is full-steam ahead, with minimal lulls, delays, or wait times to further inconvenience the homeowner.

Additionally, as all of us living in the northeast know, weather also presents its own factors which must be negotiated. Spring, summer and early fall are great times for exterior projects like porches and decks. Winter is the ideal time for interior work.

The most important first step in the journey to a home you love is making that initial call to the most trusted experts in construction and renovation. For over 47 years, Schrader and Company has been proud to serve our community and bring our clients’ visions for their dream homes to life. 

We hope you’ll give us a call to start the conversation about your project as soon as possible!

 

Uncovering Hidden Potential

In this Project Spotlight, we go behind the scenes of a kitchen renovation that benefited from a change in perspective—both literally and figuratively.

Our clients came to us with a goal for their lovely, open floor plan home, which unfortunately suffered from a small kitchen. The clients wanted their kitchen to reflect the airy, open feel of the rest of their house, and be connected to their dining room for ease in entertaining. With tall ceilings and plenty of potential, the existing layout was just not doing the home justice. The current layout also failed to make the most of a beautiful lake view.

In order to accomplish the homeowner’s goals of a more spacious room, improved flow, and upgraded aesthetics, project planner John Hudson and interior designer Brooke Weinert collaborated over best placement of the room’s features, and ultimately re-oriented a new custom kitchen island to take advantage of the lake view.

Knocking down part of the wall adjoining the kitchen and dining room, creating a large island with seating to face the lake, and removing an existing closet to install a larger, built-in pantry were high on the list of to-do’s for this renovation. 

The new white cabinetry and dark grey contrasting island offer a contemporary twist to this transitional kitchen that is the perfect space for entertaining. With ample counter space, a conveniently located beverage refrigerator, and decorative stacked cabinetry, the beauty of the home and function of the space were brought to a new level.

The room also features innovative storage solutions, like flip/slide or pivot/slide pantry doors. These doors allow for their designated coffee nook to either be left open and the doors to be tucked away out of the traffic path, or to be entirely closed away to hide any small appliances.

“We are so proud of all of our projects, but this one was a special transformation,” says Brooke. “Their new kitchen is now a space perfect for big crowds. Everyone can mingle in this space and still feel connected, even if they’re moving through the living room, kitchen, or dining room. It’s really great to be able to bring new meaning to the spaces in peoples homes.”

 

A Message To Our Clients

level surface

We hope this message finds each and every one of you healthy and safe.

The past six weeks have been unprecedented and challenging for all of us, and just like you and your families, we are adjusting and adapting to our new circumstances. While we certainly miss “normal” life, we have come together to create strong plans, learn new telecommunication skills, and work within the guidelines and parameters outlined for us by the experts. 

We wanted to share with you some new practices and policies that we have put into place.

  • Our office team has been working from home and will continue to do so until restrictions are lifted. We are available via cell phone, and are also checking the office voicemails routinely. If you reach out to us for anything, your call will be returned.
  • We are continuing the planning, design, and selections processes, utilizing the abundant virtual tools available to us.
  • We are starting the conversation about new projects over the phone and making appointments to look at new projects.  We are simply scheduling these first appointments for just a couple of weeks out. This is still a great time to call us and get the process started.
  • In the field, we have implemented cleaning, sanitizing, hand-washing, face covering, and social distancing procedures.  
  • Until the curve is lowered, we are focusing on exterior work (e.g. additions, porches, garages, etc) or work in homes that are not the primary residence, and therefore, not currently occupied. 
  • We continue to monitor and adapt to the frequent changes that may come our way. We will communicate any changes in practice or policy to our clients.

We have built Schrader and Company Construction Services on the trust of our clients, and we know that means more now than perhaps ever before. We are committed to your safety and the safety of our team members. 

We thank you for your continued support, and look forward to much brighter days ahead.

Meet Our Newest Team Members!

Interior designer choosing a baseboard

We’ve had some wonderful new additions to our Schrader and Company team in 2019. Meet some of the new faces behind the scenes of our award-winning projects. We hope you’ll get to know these talented new employees very soon!

Brandon Madigan – Apprentice Carpenter

Born and raised in the Scotia-Glenville area, Brandon graduated from Scotia-Glenville High School in 2006.  After earning a Business Management degree from the College of St Rose, he pursued a career in the technology field.  However Brandon couldn’t quite shake his passion for carpentry and quickly became the handyman of his family. We are delighted that in 2018 Brandon decided to trade in his computer for a full set of carpentry tools and embark on a full time career in home remodeling and construction with Schrader and Company. We could not be happier to have Brandon as part of our team.

In his own time, Brandon enjoys spending time with his wonderful wife and two children. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves hunting, fishing and camping on Brant Lake. Brandon has a passion for animals, and has two dogs, two cats, two goats, and several ducks and chickens.

 

Erin Loiacono – Staff Accountant

Erin joined the company in 2018 in an official capacity, but this is not her first time here. She will be familiar to many of you as Peter and Christy Schrader’s daughter and Silas Schrader’s sister. While attending school, Erin worked first in the office and as soon as she was old enough to use power tools (a milestone she found more exciting than reaching the age old enough to drive) she was out working on job sites. Her career path took her elsewhere for a time, and she is thrilled to be back.

Erin has had the benefit of seeing the company from another side as well, as a client. When Erin and her husband made the decision to purchase the beloved home of Erin’s grandparents, they knew that there were more than a few updates and changes that were both necessary and desired to create the setting for the dream of their family home. They also knew there was no better team to entrust with their dream.

Erin loves reading, crafting and art projects. She enjoys wandering around in the woods, through the snow, or along a lake shoreline. But mostly, Erin loves turning to her two small children and enjoying their experience of the above activities.

 

Mark O’Lena – Project Planner

As a retired Airforce Veteran, Mark has had the opportunity to travel the world while serving our country.  Mark is passionate about history and architecture. He enjoys restoration projects, renovations and new construction.  Mark has a great habit of elevating the organizations he is a part of. Mark brings to us an extensive background in project planning and design, and we look forward to all of the talent and insight he will bring to his new role as a project planner.

Mark enjoys everything the northeast has to offer–hiking, boating, skiing and more. You might catch Mark riding through the area on his motorcycle or venturing on long treks through New England. Mark recently joined the world of CrossFit and has competed in a number of open competitions. He can be found cheering the loudest at his kids’ events and embarking on new adventures with his family.

The Difference is in the Details

Difference in the Details Schrader and CompanyAs is true in so many aspects of life, we at Schrader and Company have always found that when it comes to construction and remodeling, the details really matter. Trimwork is the perfect example of how precise and thoughtful finishing elements can come together to elevate an entire aesthetic.

We like to think of detailed trimwork as a level of complexity that betters overall design, and a hallmark that separates good quality from best quality.

Take for example, the intricacies involved in remodeling an older home. Part of a renovation might entail putting in new energy-efficient windows and doors. By replicating historic crown moldings and window casements that exist in other parts of the house, we can create a cohesive design that marries the old with the new, ensuring that the new construction and modern upgrades don’t look out of place.

A new kitchen or bathroom (or any recently renovated room!) should always flow into all of the other spaces in your house. Without the glue of consistent trimwork tying it all together, the remodeled parts of a home can stand out–and not in a good way.

Our award-winning Schrader and Company production team have the skill set and training to properly execute even the most detailed of trimwork. Our craftspeople are always willing to spend the time to get it just right, resulting in a finished project that looks professional, seamless, and thoughtful.

Take a look at these examples of our work, and give us a call if you’re ready to renovate your home with careful and expert precision.

Difference in the Details Schrader and Company

Schrader and Co. Honored at CRBRA 2018 “Best in Building” Awards

In November, Schrader and Company Construction Services was honored at the Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association annual “Best in Building” awards. We were thrilled to take home three awards for our work. Ben, Lynn and Brooke were in attendance to represent Schrader and Company.

We were honored in the Remodeler category and won awards for our work in the categories of smaller-scale bathroom remodel, larger-scale bathroom remodel, and larger-scale kitchen remodel.

You can read the Project Spotlight articles pertaining to each of the winning projects (linked above) to go behind the scenes of how and why we achieved the results that we did for our clients.

To be recognized for the quality of our work is wonderful. Every member of our team from our project planners to our talented craftsmen have ownership in these accolades, as everyone’s contribution leads to the final product.

While our client’s happiness is always our number one goal, to be honored by our distinguished peers in our field is immensely gratifying. Thank you to the CRBRA for these honors, and congratulations to all of the other award winners!